Rogue Comb-Building

One of the disadvantages that beginning beekeepers have is that they are starting with entirely new frames with new foundation rather than drawn comb. Frames without drawn comb next to each other have excess space and frequently the bees will draw out comb off the foundation. 

Notice how the bees built hexagon cells sideways, with the long ends parallel with the foundation rather than perpendicular

Below is an example of comb drawn out normally, filled with honey, and then capped over with wax. (We added the butterfly, see “Bee Art” for more info.)

Bees will fill in spaces with comb until there is a 3/8-inch space between. This is called the “Bee Space.” The bee space is just the right amount of room for bees to move around in the hive. In Langstroth hives, the frames have been engineered so this space is created between frames after the bees draw out comb. 

In the sideways example, notice how bees created bee space between rows of sideways comb.

Honeybee Pests: Mice

Here is an example of mice getting into beekeeping equipment. They build a nest in this one. Mice are really only a problem if there are no bees in the box. This can happen if a colony dies in the winter, if mice can get to stored boxes, or if the wintering hive is clustering in the box above, and bees are unaware of the mice below.

To avoid this, store equipment in a pest free place, especially if the hive has died in the winter. Also, if the fall cluster is not big enough to fill two boxes, consider wintering in one box. This will keep out the mice and give bees less space to heat.

If this does happen in your equipment, it needs to be carefully cleaned as mice can spread disease to humans.

Honeybee Pests: Target Practice

This hive was damaged by bullets in a remote location. It seems that shooters were using this hive as target practice. No substantial harm can come to the bees unless a bullet hits the queen, which is unlikely. But damage to the woodenware can be significant and no one wants lead in their honey.  

To avoid this kind of damage, it is best to place hives where people can’t see them.

Honeybee Pests: Livestock

This bee box was in the same pasture as a horse. The horse kicked it and several others, damaging the equipment. Two of the three kicked colonies survived, including this one. 

Livestock will occasionally cause damage to beehives. Livestock are more likely to harm the colony in winter than in other seasons, because of chill. Horses can kick the boxes and break them, especially if the've just been stung. Cattle sometimes rub on boxes and flip the lids off, or knock over a box. Goats like to jump on top of boxes. 

If a beekeeper was trying to decide whether or not to use a location based on shared use with livestock, it usually doesn’t present a problem, but it depends on the animals’ temperament. Some beekeepers fence off bee hives within the pasture. 


Bee Art Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Rich Herout of Antioch, Illinois, winner of this year’s bee art contest. Thanks to all who entered and we hope to see more in the future! 


Bee Art

Can I brag a little about my man here? I am in LOVE with his bee art! He takes plastic foundation, cuts it into different shapes, and puts it in the beehive. Here are the results. What do you think?

He got the idea from his beekeeping grandpa, Arthur Andersen, who did a profile of Abraham Lincoln in beeswax. Here is Stan's version. 

By the way, if you see some really awesome photos here, the credit goes to 
Nina Cochran, of Studio 111.

Fish in Honeycomb

Stan entered the fish in honeycomb in the Springville, UT Art Museum Religion and Art Show. It is reminiscent of Jesus eating fish and honeycomb after he was resurrected.

This one is by far my favorite!